Can it get any fresher?
We ate salad all the time growing up, it was a staple at our table. Green leaf salad is the first salad I remember eating.

We ate all kinds; romaine, butter-head, Boston, rarely iceberg, at times endive and not often enough, watercress…my favourite. It was a delicacy to me, that slightly bitter crunchy wild food taste. Most often it was Boston or a butter-head type, lettuce my mother preferred.

The salad leaves were almost always accompanied with a liberal amount of parsley chopped very fine ( actually milled in a small parsley / herb mill imported from France ). In France they are very serious about their fresh herbs.
In those younger days I was not so found of parsley. With time and age and the experience of Middle Eastern gastronomy, I now use parsley with everything. I just chop it finely with my chef’s knife…quick and easy.
The salads were seasoned with her vinaigrette. We only ate salad with dressing made at home. I was to find out later that not only is it much much tastier than any dressing you can buy, but so much fresher and so easy to make. In fact you do not even need to make a blend, just a drizzle of nice vinegar, a spoon or two of olive oil, and there you are.

My mother’s vinaigrette was more elaborate – Oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, sometimes a pinch of salt and a little black pepper. When I started making mine, see Hungry Soul , I had to add garlic, of course. Some people add a little sweetener, but I do not.
Recently I have been making a herb dressing. This is just the vinaigrette with the fresh herbs blended in. It gives the salad a different taste, the herbs give it a little sweetness.
Go to the Recipe section of this blog or click on the link Fresh Herb Vinaigrette.

Le Jardin – The Garden
No, this is not a French class. Growing up speaking French, my food memories are intertwined with the language.

The garden is important, but we should not get caught up in thinking that we need a big area. Our green leaves at this time come from a square flower pot and a larger elevated growing frame… with these we can easily keep the family in tasty, life-giving fresh greens.
What you will need is a dedicated & passionate Gardener. They are essential and come in different sizes and colours, and can be often found with a smile.

Did you know that gardening is extremely good for your health?
Something to do with activity, creativity and the sense of accomplishment. To get one’s hands in the dirt just feels good, that is why children do it, they know!
When the seedlings come out of the ground there is always a sense of wonder. And as you water, weed and maybe thin, one day you are presented with life-giving food… nature’s gift to us.
These fresh plants are so full of important nutrients. We need green plants in order to live; for our calcium, for protein and of course those all important essential vitamins …and if you are lucky even some vitamin B12 … If you are interested read more on that in the Nutrition and Health section of Le Journal.